LOUISVILLE, Kentucky, United States (AA) - Muhammad Ali, was laid to rest here Friday in a private ceremony.
Ali’s casket was carried into the Cave Hill Cemetery by eight pallbearers, including former heavyweight champions Lennox Lewis, Mike Tyson and, Will Smith, who played the boxing legend in a 2001 biopic.
Tyson was a late addition as a pallbearer, said Ali family spokesman Bob Gunnell, as the former champion caught a late flight after a change of schedule freed him from a previous commitment.
Gunnell told The Associated Press that Tyson was not sure he would attend the memorial service because he was very emotional upon learning of Ali's death and was not sure if he could contain his emotions.
Fans chanted “Ali, Ali” and some wept as the procession entered the cemetery.
With the graveside service complete, crowds have now gathered at the Kentucky Yum! Center, where an interfaith service is set to honor the boxing legend.
Nearly 15,000 are expected to attend and the service will include eulogies by comedian Billy Crystal, sportscaster Bryant Gumbel and family members. Ali’s wife, Lonnie, who was married to the champ for 30 years and at the time of his death, will also deliver remarks.
Ali died last Friday after a decades-long very public fight against Parkinson’s disease. He was 74.
Earlier Friday, a funeral procession traveled through the city’s center on a 18-mile (30-kilometer) route, taking Ali’s body and more than a dozen accompanying vehicles to the street named after him, a museum that stands as a tribute to his sports and humanitarian accomplishments and to his childhood home.
The Muslim janazah funeral prayer was held Thursday for Ali at Freedom Hall. Thousands of mourners attended, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who will not be present at the interfaith service Friday.